Arcady in Australia
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The evocation of Australia in nineteenth-century English Literature
The Australian bush mystique was imposed on Australia from English literature; our national ethos is a creation more of literature than of history.
This provocative book examines the vision of Australia in nineteenth-century English literature. The industrial revolution destroyed the myth of an idyllic rural way of life in England, and writers like Charles Dickens, Bulwer Lytton and Charles Reade created it anew in the improbable environment of Australia. The popular image of Australia in English literature was Arcadian; in turn it dominated the thought and traditions of writing in Australia.
The man who supplied the material for English writers was Samuel Sidney; he was for a time regarded as an expert on Australia, although he had never set foot in the antipodes and all his material was second-hand. His influence on the literature of the period, and consequently on Australia, has received scant attention.
Sidney's influence is fully examined; the book also offers entirely new material on Wakefield, Dickens, Lytton and Reade. It provides a new and challenging interpretation of literature and social history in both England and Australia.
About the author
Coral Lansbury holds degrees in English and History and is an experienced playwright, broadcaster and contributor to scholarly journals. She is the wife of the historian professor J.H.M. Salmon.